The Multifunctional, Expandable, Lunar Lightweight and Tall Tower (MELLTT) creates a line-of-sight from a CLPS lunar lander to other areas of the lunar surface and into the interior of a permanently shadowed region (PSR). This allows for communication, power beaming, and imaging to support distal assets, as well as stand-alone remote sensing of PSR interiors. This Earth proof-of-concept autonomously levels to accommodate landing on a slope, deploys a 2m composite boom, and elevates a standard 1U payload to provide the line-of-sight.
The first phase of the MELLTT project culminated in the BIG Idea Challenge Forum of Jan 2021, and demonstrated the following:
Proved that composite, deployable booms can be deployed against a gravity vector, while previous demonstrations have only been done in microgravity.
An Earth-based prototype has successfully demonstrated boom deployment and retraction, self-leveling up to 12° while bearing a 34 kg load, and re-orienting of the payload bus to allow for remote sensing.
Demonstrated a lightweight and compact way to elevate equipment on the lunar surface using COTS components and existing lander designs.
Developed a standardized (derived from U-class spacecraft) payload bus to allow for ready adaptation of MELLTT to a variety of client payloads